On Sunday afternoon, I found myself on the bus, as I often do. I felt scruffy and unwashed, unshaven, wearing casual grubbies for kicking back with the family eating BBQ and drinking and getting on each other’s nerves, only now I was headed home.
And this amazingly beautiful girl got on the bus and sat down just a few seats away.
I couldn’t tell if she was Hispanic or Asian or some exotic mixture or something else that I was too uncultured to recognize. Black hair, cut short and falling past her face and ears, showing off a graceful neck. Almond-shaped eyes with pupils like black pearls, if pearls were the size of quarters. Full lips, tastefully colored with a sensual and subtle red. Shorter than me. Curved and shaped in a slight exaggeration of the perfect ratio for the female form, shoulders flowing into breasts tapering to belly and flaring out again in hips and butt. Dressed, in spite of the heat, in a black long-sleeved shirt, black knee-length skirt, and tall black boots encasing her calves, the silver hooks delineating the ell-shape from the top of her foot folding upward along her shin. Just a touch of gorgeous brown skin showing between the top of the boots and the bottom of the skirt… and just a little bit more skin when she sat down and crossed one leg over the other.
I’ve been practicing. Practicing noticing these girls and practicing talking myself into saying something to them. All I need is one (or several…) to say yes and I’ll start practicing the next step, too… but first I have to go talk to them, one at at time, and see if any of them are interested in what I have to say. Little Miss Dressed-In-Black-But-Not-In-A-Goth-y-Way was next.
Only my common enemy was busy interfering. That enemy being me. Or, rather, the negative voice in my head. I was too old, too dirty, too smelly, too shy, too geeky, too non-verbal, not classy enough… The Voice didn’t use those words. It just sat in my brain and projected those feelings at me, paralyzing my legs and body and mouth. All I could do while under the influence of that Voice was sit and watch and wonder and fear.
Bah. I hate fear. I fought the fear, straining against it as if it were actual ropes holding me back. No go. Not working.
I tried a visualization exercise. I imagined myself getting up, moving up a few seats, moving around in front of her so as not to startle her, saying “hi, how’s your day going?” and taking it from there. I pushed, and the images formed in my head… only it wasn’t working.
All the while, I was talking back to the Voice, treating it like a scared three-year-old, telling it that everything will be OK, it will not be hurt, in fact, no matter what happens I’ll have a story to tell Tracy and Ken and Christi and my other friends and blog about… Even if she screamed and yelled at me, or slapped me in the face, showing herself to be just a crazy scared woman… that shit would be funny, later, and as long as I was respectful and polite but interested, it wasn’t likely that she’s freak out that bad, anyway.
The problem was, I was watching myself do all that, and go through the consequences, from a third-person perspective. I, the one doing the viewing, was still sitting where I was, and watching this phantom-Brian get up and walk over, and talk to her. I was disassociating from myself, and admiring someone else much like myself do the thing that I wanted to do! No wonder it wasn’t working.
I mentally shifted my perspective – and suddenly, I was the one moving over, and watching her as I did it, and sitting down in front of her and facing her and saying “hi”… I mean, I pictured myself doing it…
…and then, I did it. I was sitting there, in front of her, and smiling at her. She didn’t smile back, but merely looked at me, interested but non-committal.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi,” she said, carefully, smiling tightly, politely, but not invitingly.
“I just wanted to tell you,” I said, smoothly but finding it hard to make full eye contact, “that I think you are very beautiful.”
She smiled a tiny bit wider, and blushed just a little. “Thank you!” she said.
“You are very welcome” I said back, and realized that she seemed a little bit freaked out. My stop was approaching. Did I have enough courage to keep talking to her?
I didn’t. Perhaps for some future girl I will. Perhaps I just wasn’t getting the right, subconscious signals from this girl, but that didn’t make this a mistake. In fact it was exactly the right thing to do, but I could tell that, either from her caution or fear, and my fading confidence, that the best action now was to end this on a high note and make my exit. I pulled the cord, rang the bell, requested the next stop, and got off the bus without looking back.
I hope that by leaving like that, deliberately but after a sincere (on my part) compliment, that I gave her a smile, and a story to tell. Just as she has given me a story to tell.
And I’ll keep trying, until I find that girl (or girls) who react a little more openly and interestedly. Or until I can project enough confidence for both of us and lead her through the encounter.
Just need a little more practice…